Friday 4 November 2022

Free Pattern Friday: Kid's Raglan Hoodie

Welcome to my monthly 'Free Pattern Friday' feature, where I road test a free sewing pattern or tutorial: sometimes a children's one, sometimes an adult's one . I publish these posts every first Friday of the month, timed to provide inspiration for those who plan to get their sew on over the weekend. I firmly believe that, if you pick your projects carefully, sewing doesn't have to be a crazy-expensive way to clothe yourself and your family. I also firmly believe that pattern designers deserve to be properly paid for their work, so if you enjoy using a pattern and can afford to do so, make sure you support that designer. Some designers' websites offer the option to make a donation, alternatively you can buy one of their paid-for products. If you can't afford to do so, you can support the designer by sharing your project via social media to help draw more attention to their work. Thanks to all the amazing pattern designers who have offered up their hard work for us to enjoy for free.

This is a pattern that I've been harping on about a lot lately whilst making the Sewing and Saving mini series of podcast episode (in particular Sewing on a Budget and Sewing to Keep Warm). This pattern is a fantastic resource to have if you want to sew some cosy layers for kids. I first reviewed this pattern for the Free Pattern Friday series when my little boy was just a year old. And before that I posted about it when my daughter was equally tiny. But since then, Brindille & Twig have started producing patterns for larger kids and with that have released a larger version of this pattern for free download also. I was looking for a pattern to make for my son for his birthday, so I decided to give this new, larger version a whirl and test out its new hood option as well. Massive thanks to Melissa from Brindille & Twig for sharing her hard work for free.


(image source: Brindille & Twig)

Pattern type:

A classic, gender neutral, raglan sleeved, hooded sweatshirt style with front kangaroo pocket and two hood types (scuba and crossover). 

Sizing info:

The original, smaller version of this pattern (with only one style of hood) is sized between 0 months and 6 years. This version is sized between 6 and 14 years. I usually find that B&T patterns come up a bit large, so I'd really recommend going by the height measurements when selecting which size to make, particularly if you need it for immediate use. My son has just turned 6, but I knew the 6-7 years size would be too big for him. I probably could have used the largest size of the smaller version of the pattern, however I really wanted to try the new crossover hood variation. Subsequently, I printed out the size 6-7 but changed to scale to about 95% as opposed to 100%. 

Fabric info:

B&T suggest medium weight jersey, interlock or stretchy French Terry for the main fabric, but warn that using regular sweatshirt fleece may make it difficult to get over head. The hood and pocket can be lined in jersey, and and the cuff and waistbands require ribbing. 

For Frankie's birthday version, I used some stretchy towelling that was donated to me years ago after a sewing friend had a destash. I used some scraps of ribbing for the cuffs, but didn't have enough for a waistband also so left that off. The hood is lined with very lightweight slubby single jersey. It might look better if it were more opaque, but at least it doesn't weigh the hood down too much. 


As ever, this B&T was a great pattern to use. There's a really simplicity and clarity to their patterns that make them very user, including beginner, friendly. Also, I love the layers function so you're not printing out heaps of unnecessary lines in particular. 

The instructions are pretty good. The only real flaw I found was that many of the images of garments with the crossover hood show that the hood has been lined, however, the instructions show how to make it unlined only. It's not a big deal of course, but it did throw me off a little. 

The finished garment came out just as I'd hoped. I'd left off the pocket which made construction quicker, choosing to add a Pokemon patch (Frankie's current obsession) instead. As mentioned before, I also left off the waistband and simply hemmed the bottom edge instead. The length of the body was sufficient to not need to add addition length. If I make another version in the future that includes a waistband, I'll consider shortening the body a bit. 

Customisation ideas:

There are a number of customaisation ideas shown in the images on their website, but they are not explicitly mentioned as far as I can tell. Here are their's and some of mine:
  • add eyelets or button holes and thread a drawstring through the front edge of the hood
  • leave the edges of the kangaroo pocket raw 
  • leave off the waistband and simply hem
  • lengthened the sleeves a bit, then leave off the cuffs and hem instead
  • insert piping into the sleeve seams
  • use contrasting fabrics for each pattern piece, or for just the sleeves
  • add patches, embroidery, decals, prints or appliqué designs to the front
  • insert triangles of fabric into the central hood seam, and possibly down the back, to make a dinosaur hoodie
  • lengthen the whole hoodie to make a hoodie dress
  • make in a lighter weight fabric and shorten the sleeves for a warmer weather version

Would I make this pattern again?

Most definitely. In fact, I'm quite enamoured with some of the customisation ideas above so I might give them a try! I'm so happy that they have created this pattern in a larger size so that I can continue to make hoodies for my kids for many years to come. 

Tuesday 1 November 2022

Ermine + Norma = A Fibre Mood Blouse Mashup

Another of my Autumn sewing plans is a wrap! I'm a big fan of a blouse. Just type 'blouse' into the search box on this blog and you'll see how many of the damn things I've made over the years! They make my usual jeans or dungarees look a bit more grownup and me generally more put together. 


I'd had my eye on this awesome printed viscose for well over six months before I finally gave in and bought some. I bought it from Fabric Godmother (not sponsored but I get a staff discount), but I can't link to it sadly because it has sold out now. 

I'm not a natural print wearer, I guess in part because I predict I'll get bored of a particular one before long. Prints can tie you, stylistically, to a time and place in your life in a way that solids don't seem to. And that can limit the amount of use a garment will see. Which is why I approached this fabric with caution. I had to wait to check that I really did adore it enough to want to put it on my body, rather than to just enjoy like you might a poster on your wall for a while. 

What I particularly enjoy about it the indoors theme of this print! Many prints are floral-based, but I really enjoy the domestic setting and mid-century vibes going on here. It's not dissimilar to my own home! And the design includes lots of colours that I enjoy wearing (rust, mustard, navy and possibly even emerald green). But whilst I'm suitably convinced that I won't for out of love with the design any time soon, I'm not entirely convinced the peachy-pink background colour does anything for my skin tone. 


As I say, I love a good blouse. Fibre Mood magazine invariably has at least one I like in every issue. I missed the availability period of the issue that included the Ermine blouse pattern, however we started to stock it at work as a standalone product. My boss, Josie, decided it was a good candidate for a Dream Wardrobe box. I made the sample garment for that month, so I got to test out the construction and even try it on before committing to making my own. 

My conclusions were: I liked the delicate gathering into the yoke, the size M was too big and the sleeves could be more exciting. So I decided to go ahead with it but made the size S and swapped Ermine's sleeve pattern for the more voluminous piece from the Norma blouse pattern (also by Fibre Mood). 


This blouse, as with anything of course, is not perfect. I don't like how there are two green chairs on the front yoke pieces, and the neckline feels a little too wide, despite picking a size smaller than my measurements would have led me to make. And as I said above, the main colour isn't great against my skin tone. But I do really like this blouse and have enjoyed wearing it a number of times since completion. I think it's going to have a long and happy life in my wardrobe. 

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